Post by Chris Jensen
Most seniors would agree that planning ahead is an integral part of the years prior to retirement. However, it’s inevitable that unpredictable occasions may arise. We’re all familiar with the close friend that lost everything in a house fire, or loved one who suffers a serious diagnosis and leaves the family to respond with minimal resources. These situations serve to remind us that saving money is not the only important step to take while planning for retirement.
This new stage in your life calls for a fresh look at the types of records and papers you should be keeping. Retirees are likely to have the greatest number of critical records, but many are not aware of which are beneficial in an emergency situation, or where to put them to remain accessible for those they trust. There are simple solutions out there to make things easier for your family, and yourself. I’ve put together three steps to help you secure your important records, and rest easy during retirement.
1. Collect Records
First, make an inventory of all your documents. If you’re like most people, your financial records may be scattered in file cabinets, old boxes, various computers, safes, or emails to name a few. If you have a systematic plan of document organization, you can save a lot of time and sanity during an emergency situation. Take time to plan which items should be stored, or which can be discarded. Many documents are useless after a certain period of time. After locating everything, group like documents together. You should have a group of crucial items like powers-of-attorney, licenses, wills, car titles, life-insurance policies, medical directives, deeds, and pension and retirement-plan documents. The second group can be reserved for items you probably will never need, but would be smart to archive, such as old tax returns, brokerage statements, and records of established individual retirement accounts.
2. Make Duplicates
Prior to step 3, it’s important to make personal copies of all documents and records. Today, the most efficient way to copy files is to scan them. For documents that may not be in your possession, ask your financial advisor or lawyer to do the scanning for you. Distribute copies of your living will, financial plans, and burial instructions between relatives, friends, and your attorney to ensure everyone is aware of your requests. It is also smart to keep a record of all online accounts and memberships. Having a file folder with account numbers, usernames and passwords may be handy for future reference.
3. Store Securely in the Cloud
Trust me, you don’t have to be tech-savvy for this step. Simply put, cloud storage is saving data on an off-site storage system managed by a third party. Storing on the cloud is just about the easiest, most secure route you can take to protect your vital documents. The best option out there is the platform I created called VaultWorthy. I like to refer to VaultWorthy as an “online safety deposit box.” The program allows you access to your important documents from anywhere with a web connection, at anytime. For $12.95 a month, you can store up to 50 documents in your VaultWorthy account, and provide access to up to five “trustees.” In the event of an emergency, your account can be accessed by your loved ones, attorney, estate executor, or accountant to ensure nothing is overlooked. We wanted simplicity to be at the forefront of VaultWorthy’s technology. The platform enables you to email or upload files with ease using drag and drop technology, and then arrange them into appropriate folders, which you create. And if you’re worried about security, don’t be. Using a 256-bit AES encryption among other features, VaultWorthy is 2,128 times stronger than standard “bank-level” security. We created VaultWorthy to provide users the peace of mind that their most important documents are in one secure and organized location, accessible from anywhere at any time. Head to the site for a one month free trial and check out VaultWorthy for yourself!
Chicago entrepreneur, Chris Jensen launched VaultWorthy on May 1, 2012. Jensen along with his father, Clark Jensen, co-founded the user-friendly platform designed to organize and protect critical documents while allowing trusted advisors like family members, accountants and attorneys, to access them if need be. Jensen is a managing principal of Anderson Pacific Corp. (APC), and Naples, Florida native. Get in touch with Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.